Tag Archives: dramatic play

Making Math Fun for Summer!

28 Jul


Teaching math to your kids isn’t always the easiest, especially if children already have the mindset that math “isn’t fun.” However, with the right toys and a little imagination, math can be as fun as you make it! We have five ways you can incorporate math into everyday learning, so that children will find it fun!

1. Make It a Movie Night!


Movie nights are always a fun way to spend summer evenings, especially if you have good company and snacks ready to go. Why not add math learning to the mix with Count ‘Em Up Popcorn? This popcorn-themed sorting game will leave kids entertained as they build number sense and recognition. It’s a great way to put restless energy to good use as it keeps little hands busy during the movie!

2. Create a Play Store!

Want a fun way to teach simple addition and subtraction? Create your own play store! Whether it’s your child’s stuffed animals, storybooks, or frequently used household items, allotting price tags to different items and putting your child in charge of the Teaching Cash Register is a great way to teach money sense. Furthermore, it’s a fun dramatic play experience that can lead to fun-filled family interactions!

3. Take Shapes on the Go!


Taking a road trip for the summer? Put those hours to good use by bringing along shape sorters! The Counting Shape Sorter and the Multishape Sorter (9 Pieces) are both great toys for taking in the car to teach math skills as children roll along! Children will learn colors and shapes all while developing problem-solving skills as they count pieces out onto the appropriate pegs.

4. Encourage Sorting for Nature Finds!


Sorting is a great skill for toddlers to learn as preschool approaches. Enjoy the season by taking the concept outside! Go on a nature walk with your kids and have them collect small items for sorting. Items can vary from shiny rocks, to acorns, to fallen feathers. Once you’ve finished your nature walk, bring your child’s finds inside, come up with categories, and ask them to sort the items into Sorting Trays. Once finished, ask children to count how many items they have in each category for addition math learning.

 5. Cool Off with Number Fishing!


Spending your summer days by the pool or lake? Take along the Giant Fishing Set for bonus math learning! Children will build hand-eye coordination as they snag different numbered fish and total their catches! Ask children to sort fish into even and odd numbers or multiples of five for addition math learning.

We hope you’re finding time for math this summer with your kids! What’s your favorite way to make math fun? Let us know by commenting below or sharing on our Facebook page.

Putting on a Proper Puppet Show!

23 Jun


Staging a puppet show is a great way to get children excited about reading, aid in the development of storytelling skills, and bring the family together to celebrate a child’s creativity! Not sure where to start? We have seven simple steps to aid your child in putting on a proper puppet show!

1. Choose your book.

It’s important to choose a story that lends itself to being acted out. Multiple strong characters, an exciting backdrop, and adventure are always great elements to include in a puppet show! Browse our selection of children’s books to get started: https://www.kaplantoys.com/shop/childrens-books.

2. Pick out the puppets.

Knowing which puppets to use as the show’s actors/actresses is the most important part! Allow children to express creativity by choosing their own character to act out whatever role they’ve chosen from the story. We have a range of puppets to choose from, from farm animals to Sesame Street characters! Below are some of our favorites:

Farm Puppets (Set of 8)28711

Happy Puppets (Set Of 6)Fox Hand Puppet by Folkmanis

3. Write the scripts.

Your children will have to decide which characters will be acted out as well as what they will say. Writing scripts is a great way to delve deeper into a book to pick out the most important lines of dialogue. It can also be a great opportunity to teach concepts like summarizing, themes, and the moral of the story. Children can depict with puppets what they learned from the story and practice early writing skills along the way!

4. Set the stage.

Tabletop Puppet TheaterWhat is a puppet show without a stage? Help your children pick out the perfect place to act out their stories. You’ll want to make sure the location is somewhere big enough for an audience of avid supporters.

On a budget? Use an ironing board! Simply hang a tablecloth over it and the height can be adjusted to the appropriate level. Children can add   whatever props they like!

5. Practice, practice, practice!

Encourage children to practice their scripts so they don’t get stage fright or forget who is supposed to speak when. This is a great way to teach dedication and may lead to some comical improvisation as well!

6. Stage the lights.

Lighting can go a long way in setting the mood for a play! Adding some dramatic flair to the performance is always fun and will make children even more excited about acting out the show. If you can, find a way to dim the lights and have the stage lit with a “spot light.” You can point a lamp in their direction, use a projector, or get fancy by having the stage lit from underneath! Use whatever works best for you!

7. Gather the family together.

Having a support system is always important. Children will not only work on public speaking in front of an audience, but laughter and applause will go a long way in building confidence. Make sure to catch the performance on video so children can laugh along later!

Ladybug Book Set

Using Finger Puppets to Encourage Early Literacy

Outside of giving a performance, finger puppets are a great alternative for encouraging children who are struggling with reading. Here are some great options for engaging children in early literacy by using their hands to act out the story:

We hope you enjoy a puppet performance in your home! What are some of your child’s favorite books to act out? Be sure to share with us by commenting below.

Dramatic Play for Spring

24 Mar


It’s finally spring and with the change in seasons comes more opportunities for young children to get out and enjoy some fresh air. There are plenty of games to play outside, but the best ones inspire children’s creativity as they act out dramatic play. We have a few ways your child can enjoy the sunshine while also using their imaginations to transform into something new! Without further ado, here are four dramatic play games for spring:

1. Better Fly, Butterfly!

There’s nothing more magical than the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly! Have your children act out the transformation with their very own set of wings. The wings are a great addition to books full of early science learning, such as From Caterpillar to Butterfly and The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and will help children become more invested in the stories being read.

2. Get Your Grill On!

Since March is National Nutrition Month, encourage your child to pretend to make their favorite healthy foods on the Pretend Play BBQ Grill. The grill is a great way to teach children proper nutrition and build fine motor skills as children let their imaginations flourish, combining all of their favorite ingredients! (Even if they probably wouldn’t work so well in real life!) For a book of simple recipes you can cook together with your toddler in the real kitchen after playtime, don’t miss The Budding Chef.

3. Build Something Brilliant!

There’s nothing like working on a construction project outside, whether it’s in the sandbox or on the patio. Have your child grab their Construction Worker Dress-Up and head outside to build. The No Ends Construction Set, Bricks, Blocks and Rock Builders, and the Giant Polydron Set are all great outdoor building sets.

4. Go on a Safari!

Every child is a little adventurer at heart! Foster your child’s love of new experiences by helping them gear up for an outdoor adventure! Grab some binoculars for bird watching, a critter cabin for new friends found along the way, and an Early Science Explorers Set to get children started. Creating a sensory box afterwards of items found is always a great tool for science learning at home.

We hope you and your children are enjoying the start of spring! Feel free to share your favorite spring activities with us by commenting below or on our Facebook page.

Conflict Resolution Through Dramatic Play 

17 Feb


If you have children then you know they are bound to need a little help when it comes to navigating conflicts with their peers. As children grow, they begin to work on their communication skills as well as learn how to cooperate with others. There are a few ways you can step in as a parent when play is interrupted by conflict to help your kids come to a happy solution. Try out these suggested strategies to guide your children through conflict resolution:

Acknowledge Each Child:

Children always like to point out that you’re playing favorites, especially siblings. That’s why it’s so important to validate each child engaged in the conflict. Be sure to address both parties by repeating each side of the story without judgment or interruptions from the other child. Equal attention will go a long way in bolstering children’s belief that they are being treated fairly.

 Refrain From Giving Solutions:

It can be hard not to march up and tell children exactly how to solve a problem. After all, it makes perfect sense to you how to reason out what’s causing the problem and then how to resolve it as you are an objective third party. However, by giving children solutions instead of allowing them to reach them on their own, you are depriving them of a learning opportunity where they can grow both in communication skills and in social emotional development. Suggesting that children should come to a solution is always a great place to start, as you are showing your confidence in them to reach a solution. By repeating the point that each child comes to, children will take your reaffirmation as a means to change what is being stated. Also, it helps when your tone is devoid of pesky emotions children are sure to employ, such as anger, jealousy, and pride.

Suggest Dramatic Play to Handle Conflict:

Sometimes, children need help reaching a solution. Though you don’t want to tell them exactly how to solve their problems, you can provide resources for them to figure it out themselves. Toys serve as a great visual representation of the problems children find themselves engaged in. Having a way to act out what they are feeling through dramatic play not only forces the child to stop and think about their actions but to also express what they are feeling through a doll, puppet, or action figure. Here are a few toys options to use for dramatic play:

Finally here are suggested steps on how to use toys to handle conflict:

  1. Have children list out their problems first.
  2. Discuss why these situations bother each child.
  3. Have your children pick a toy for role play.
  4. Act out solutions to problems mentioned above.
  5. Pro Tip: Emphasize that children should use words to express how they feel as opposed to issuing blame. Blame leads to conflict.

We hope you found these tips helpful! Have parenting tips for calming your children’s conflicts? Share them with us on our Facebook page.


How to Make Kids Wear Warm Clothes!

27 Jan


Imagine a toddler running pell-mell outside wearing nothing but a t-shirt, sock feet, and a runny nose. Sound familiar? Getting your children to dress properly during the winter months can be a parent’s biggest struggle! Even if your children act unfazed by the cold weather, it’s important they learn how to bundle up, if only to prevent catching a cold. Here are some creative ways to get your little one to dress warmly for winter:

Dramatic Play for Winter

If there’s one way to get children to dress up, it’s involving them in dramatic play! Encourage your children to pretend to be Eskimos wandering through the arctic or polar bears trying to keep their pups warm. Whatever it is your children are pretending to be, make sure you stress how important keeping warm is to their health and being able to survive in cold environments. A great book to read while bundling up is Animals in Winter. 

Pick out Winter Clothes for Toys

Children often learn best from seeing the things expected of them acted out. Learning will come even more naturally when children are involved in hands-on activity that requires them to physically dress their toys. Whether it’s dressing your child’s Favorite Friends Let It Snow Doll or dressing Freddy Frog with his felt set,  putting clothes on their toys is a great way to remind children how to properly dress themselves.

Rewarding Appropriate Clothing

Sometimes, as parents, we have to make deals with our children. We’re sure you are familiar with the, “If you’ll do this THEN we can ____.” statements. When it comes to cold weather, sometimes it can be as simple as offering a fun outdoors activity for them to engage in after they agree to button up the coat and keep from pulling off the toboggan! Some fun activities you can enjoy with your children once they’re properly bundled up include sledding, making an outdoor fort, and even kicking around the Moon Ball!

Finally, it’s important for children to understand the health benefits of dressing warm for winter. Express your concern for their health and teach healthy habits to keep them from getting sick. Here is a great graphic from Kaplan Early Learning Company on how to keep children from spreading germs:image.axd

5 Tips for Your Little Girl on How to Become a Princess

24 Jun

shutterstock_169580216Is your child running around the house singing “Let It Go”? Tromping across wooden floors in heels several sizes too big? Rescuing her brother from a pretend tower? With all of the fun fairytale remakes and Disney adding new lovable princesses every year, it’s hard to not want to be a princess these days. But pretending to be a princess isn’t a bad thing! In fact, it encourages creativity and engages children in dramatic play. So without further adieu, here are five tips for your little girl on how to become a princess:

1. Look in the mirror!

All your child needs to do is see her own reflection to know that all that’s needed to become a beautiful princess is what’s on the inside; the rest is simply accessory. Make sure she knows that her cute smile, button nose and big heart are all she needs to make the world a better place. And never let her forget it!

2. Choose a color.

Every princess has a favorite color. Will hers be blue like Cinderella? Gold like Belle? Pink like Sleeping Beauty? Whatever color it is, allow her to make it her own! Encourage your child to be herself and wear her favorite color proudly. Princesses know how to keep up appearances, but only by wearing their favorite colors and clothes. Does your child want to be like Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty? Check out these dresses, so she can dress up just like them:










3. Learn proper manners.


Princesses have to know how to behave properly. That’s why every child needs to remember her manners if she wants to be like a princess. Encourage her to say please and thank you when passing food at the table. Make sure she knows not to interrupt her teacher when he or she is talking, and instead, wait until she’s called upon to speak. It’s also important to stress that princesses know how to be patient and make what they have to say count. Follow along with Little Princess to learn the importance of manners:

4. Build a castle.

Every princess has to have a castle! Not only will your little princess show off those building skills, but she’ll also have a place to show off to her princess friends! At Kaplan Toys, we have ice castles like Elsa’s, wooden castles, LEGO® castles and more! What kind of castle does your child want to build?





5. Let it go!

Encourage your little princess to take after Elsa and let it go! Make sure she knows not to worry about what other people say when she wears different clothes or takes an interest in something that’s not popular. Tell her to do what she loves and channel her own inner-princess as the beautiful, independent young lady she is! And don’t forget, even princesses need help from mommy!


Want to deck out your child’s room in fairytale fashion? Check out our pink princess furniture set, a magical setup your child is sure to love!

Does your child love to dress up? Share who your child’s favorite princess is and why in the comment section below, and she will be entered to win a free Cinderella dress!

Cooking with Imagination

21 Jan


Cooking in the kitchen with your kids is always a great way for them to learn while being engaged. However, there are a lot of sharp objects and complicated tasks that they won’t be able to help out with. That’s when having their own kitchen set would really come in handy. Preschoolers who pretend cook with kitchen appliances are engaged in dramatic play, which is an important part of the developmental process as they learn skills like abstract thinking and natural manner. Let your kids engage with the kitchen as they learn role play, work on their communication, and develop social skills. Here are 5 different products we think will really get your children’s imaginations stirring as they make their own fantastic creations!

5 Must Haves for Your Little Chef

1. Tot Range


You can’t have a kitchen without a stove! Get your child started out with our tot stove, which can be easily reached by children. Let them turn the movable knobs for even more realism!

2. My First Kitchen Set


Your chef won’t be able to cook if they don’t have their kitchen utensils. This set is great because unlike real kitchen utensils, these are lightweight and perfect for tots to maneuver around as they make a meal for two. There’s even a steak for them to serve up for dinner!

3. The Budding Chef


Every good cook has great recipes! The Budding  Chef is full of simple recipes your little one can try out either in the kitchen with you or pretend to cook in their own cooking station! This cookbook is full of great ways for parents and their budding chefs to have fun together.

4. Chef Vest and Hat


Let your little one really get into their chef role with our chef’s vest and hat. Toddlers will love cooking up food for their friends as they role play as a chef. Features include easy pull over head design with velcro side closures, chef hat with back elastic band, two pockets, and printed buttons. The best part? Machine washable.

5. Fruits and Vegetables


Finally, your little chef has to have something to cook! Get them started with our fruits and vegetable set. You can teach them about healthy eating while they whip up tasty creations.

*Application: Check out how this teacher took dramatic play in the kitchen area to a whole new level. Find out more about the Nature Kitchen.*

Want to discover even more items for dramatic play? Check out our variety of dramatic play resources.


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